Book Review: The Young Elites (ARC) by Marie Lu


This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through Penguin Teen at the American Library Association Conference for free. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.


Young Adult, approved  Fantasy



Part of a Series?:

Yes, see the first novel of what I believe is a planned trilogy

Release Date: 

October 7th, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:



Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is amalfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.
It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

My Review:

Honestly, I can’t imagine there is ever going to be a book by Marie Lu that just doesn’t completely floor me and leave me absolutely dying for the next book.

This book is so incredibly different from her Legend trilogy but that is what makes it so good. You still have the great writing and storytelling and the unique “voice” that is Marie Lu, but it in an entirely new story, an entirely new world. I think sometimes its difficult for an author to venture outside the way they’ve written, but Marie Lu proves in The Young Elites that not only can she write fantastic dystopian but she writes dark, rich fantasy as well.

In Legend, there is a constant struggle for truth, who is right, who is wrong, what is the right thing to do, how much of the truth do you tell a person. In The Young Elites, its all about power, and the use and abuse of it. Adelina is a malfetto, an abomination. The malfettos are blamed for everything wrong in the country: poverty, starvation, bad crops, whatever. They have no power as those in power, the Inquisitors, take them out at every possible chance. Even Adelina’s own father shares in the opinion that she is worthless, she will gain no good for him.

Until it is discovered that she has an absolutely incredible, terrible, dark, and out of this world power, and suddenly she’s a hot commodity. She’s hunted down by two different men, one working for the queen and one trying to fight for a rebellion against them. What makes this beautiful is there is no clear right and wrong, no dark and light. Each side is full of darkness. Each side bears so many questions. Its hard to know who to trust. Even those who say they are the right side have their own things to gain, their own reasons for using Adelina. That’s what makes it so good. You are constantly questioning everyone in the book. You never really know who is telling the truth, or what the truth even is. Even the supposed good guys don’t always seem like good guys. You’re even questioning the main character throughout the novel as well.

Its a book full of darkness, and power and its chock full of mystery. That’s what keeps you turning the pages. Its so dark. I feel like…I never know what direction this story is going to take and its frustrating and exhilarating. I honestly have such a hard time figuring out who is going to do what, and what I want people to do. I can’t even figure out what I want for the characters because its so back and forth. As soon as I sort of kind of figure out what I want for them, what I hope happens to them, the direction veers so dramatically in the other direction that I suddenly feel like I was knocked off balance. This book kept me hooked because it kept surprising me. Every time I thought I got a measure of a character or a group of people or anything, something would change and it would make it a whole new story.

I read somewhere, I can’t remember where, that this book was a sort of cross between X-Men and Assassin’s Creed. Now I don’t know much about Assassin’s Creed so I can’t say much about that. From what I understand, the main character goes back in time, with his ancestors, to different parts of history? Something like that. The history, that sort of old time feel is definitely in the book. This is a world that could exist but there’s just a bit more to it than we know. The X-Men thing is easy: some of these malfettos have powers: power over fire, wind, animals, Adelina’s power of illusion. The Young Elites totally feel like medieval version of the X-Men and they too have their prejudices against them, because they are different. They are blamed for things, and they want to fight back. They remind me of both Professor X, who wants to live in peace with them, and Magneto, who is angry at the way they treat them and wants revenge. It had a very X-Men feel about it but in a very whimsical, dark and fantastical way. I loved every bit of it.

I don’t know how much of this book will or could change before its release in October but I hope its very little. This book was absolutely incredible and I am so insanely grateful that I managed to get my hands on a copy this weekend. Marie Lu is such a gifted writer, and tells such a fresh and interesting story every single time. I was intrigued immediately from page one to the last page, unsure of what to expect. In fact, the last few pages left me in wonder, my jaw dropped, in a revelation as I discovered just a bit of something that literally leaves me incredibly impatient for a book two, even though book one hasn’t even released officially yet. Just when you think, the story is wrapped up, but you’re unsure of what direction the characters are going in, a curveball is thrown and you’re left thinking “But wait, what happens next?” I hope to find out very, very soon.


5 out of 5 Stars